The San Jose Mercury News (free subscription required) carried a short AP article by Lindsey Tanner this morning about a new study of early TV-watching and future attention problems. The study, by University of Washington researchers, found that "(e)very hour each day that kids younger than 3 watched violent child-oriented entertainment their risk doubled for attention problems five years later... Even non-violent kids' shows like "Rugrats" and "The Flintstones" carried a still substantial risk for attention problems, though slightly lower. On the other hand, educational shows, including "Arthur," "Barney" and "Sesame Street" had no association with attention problems."
The study was released today in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics. A brief summary of the article and an abstract can be found here (you have to be a subscriber to the journal to download the full text).
I think that this study is evidence in favor of spending time reading with children. The more time you spend reading with your kids, the less time they'll have to watch violent television shows. OK, this is a bit indirect, perhaps, but I still think that it's true. Unless, by chance, you're reading them really violent children's books - but this seems unlikely.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.